Tuesday, 27 November 2012 7:39 AM

Going Bananas to Cope with Climate Change

The Ministry of Agriculture says that the issue of climate change and food security is a top government priority, and the Ministry will "seriously consider reports and recommendations that seek to mitigate against its negative effects."

A recent report by the Consortium of International Agricultural Research Center has suggested that climate change could lead to bananas becoming "a critical food source for millions of people."

The authors of the Report argue that these changes "could provide an opening for cultivating certain varieties of bananas" at higher altitudes, even in those places that currently grow potatoes. They say that while bananas also have limiting factors, they may be a good substitute for potatoes in certain locations for small holders to start considering.

"Food security is a long term issue which requires long term strategies and solutions. Such reports provide important information on how best we could tackle this emerging global challenge," said a senior officer within the Ministry responsible for food security.

"What is important for the Solomon Islands is that we take into account such researched based assessments and see how best we could incorporate it into workable policies and programs."

It is understood that the Ministry is currently assessing food security within rural communities, one that would provide an important benchmark for future policy responses.

"Such reports by experts will complement our work, as part of our assessment we will certainly look into the various banana varieties and assess how best they grow in various conditions...we will also focus on some of our key crops," said the senior officer.

The report has predicted that the world's three biggest crops in terms of calories provided - maize, rice and wheat - will decrease in many developing countries. They suggest that the potato, which grows best in cooler climates, could also suffer as temperatures increase and weather becomes more volatile.